Less than a day after its Super Bowl commercial coming out party, FOX's "The X Factor" made a slew of announcements regarding its prizes, age limits and audition schedule.
 
The big reveal was that the "X Factor" winner will receive a $5 million record deal, which FOX calls the largest guaranteed prize in television history, with Syco, an unholy alliance between Sony Music and series creator/judge/mentor Simon Cowell.
 
FOX also announced that auditions for the Fall 2011 talent show will launch on Sunday, March 27 at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles. Subsequent auditions will be held on yet-to-be-announced dates at yet-to-be-announced venues in Chicago, Dallas, Miami, New York/New Jersey and Seattle. You can sign up for auditions at www.fox.com/theXfactor.
 
Auditions are open to individuals and vocal groups ages 12 and over. As with the British "X Factor," the American version will have no upper age limit, but the accommodations for 12-year-old performers is both lower than the British original and also intentionally undercuts the "American Idol" decision to allow 15-year-olds to compete this season.
 
"I like the idea that a 12-year-old on this show can compete with an older singer and a singing group," Simon Cowell states in the FOX release. "I’ve never believed there should be a cut-off age for talent, and we are going to put our money where our mouths are with the $5 million recording contract. I’m doing this show in America because I genuinely believe we can find a superstar."
 
Adds FOX reality guru Mike Darnell, "'The X Factor' has become a worldwide phenomenon and is unlike anything we’ve seen in America. The British version is wildly entertaining, but also has a penchant for stirring up controversy. You never know what Simon has up his sleeve, and since he will be working both behind and in front of the camera, the country should brace itself to expect the unexpected."
 
FOX promises that the "X Factor" host and judging panel will be announced "in coming weeks."